Emulation General

PlayStation emulators

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The slim version of the Playstation console.

The PlayStation (known shorthand as PS1 or PSX) is a 5th generation console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment in 1994. It used CD media. It was a commercial success in part to being relatively easy to program for compared to others at the time.  


Name Operating System(s) Latest Version


Accuracy Recommended
PCSX-R Windows, Linux, OS X SVN (Windows, OS X) Plugin dependent
XEBRA Windows January 17 2017 Build High
Mednafen Multiplatform 0.9.32 High
RetroArch (Mednafen) Multiplatform 0.9.28 High
FPSE Android 0.11.137 Plugin dependent
ePSXe Android, Windows, Linux 2.0 (Android)

2.00 (Windows, Linux)

Plugin dependent
pSX Windows, Linux 1.13 Mid Toasters and debuggers only
Name Operating System(s) Latest Version


Accuracy Rating Recommended
WiiSX Wii, Gamecube 2.1 beta ?
POPS PSP/PS2/Vita 6.60/r13/2.60 ?
Name Operating System(s) Latest Version


Accuracy Rating Recommended
RetroArch (PCSX-Rearmed) IOS, Android r15 High
ePSXe Android 1.9.4 High



PCSX-R is actively developed (though mostly OSX and Linux versions), and is open source. Also a plugin based emulator similar to ePSXe, but is active and has more features. It has a widescreen hack, rewind save feature(OSX/Linux versions only), proper multitrack CUE support, and support for superior plugins, such as LilyPad and compatibility with anti-jitter options in graphics plugins, such as GTE accuracy in the default Peops OpenGL plugin, or Improved coordinate accuracy in Edgbla's gpuBladeSoft and it also supports PeteOpenGL2Tweak plugin. Though please do note if you actually find an issue, as whatever it is could likely be looked into through their issue tracker. However Windows version is currently unmaintained [1][2][3][4][5] and has inferior feature set so if you are on Windows ePSXe may be better.

XEBRA has very high compatibility. Games that require subchannel data are not supported, but most other games run flawlessly. User interface is often complained about by people who can't work technology. ARBEX is an alternate build of XEBRA that doesn't require a PSX bios.

Mednafen psx is an emulator focused on accuracy. It seems extremely compatible since 0.9.28WIP but its limited to native resolution. Do note if you find an exception, though. Requires a minimum of a Core 2 Duo at 2 GHz clock. Mednafen itself is command line only and has no frontend. There are external frontends available. 

RetroArch can use the Mednafen psx core and incldues some bonuses, such as superior synch, strong shader support and a built in frontend.

PSXfin is simple and has a "standard" interface, which is easy to get into. It could have been the best[citation needed] if it was actively developed. It has a lot of compatibility issues. Dead development, closed source, no hope. Despite this, it has many hangers-on that continue to praise it as the best Playstation emulator.

FPSE is good PSX emulator in active development and with high compatibility, it can render at high resolutions using Soft HD plugin and OpenGL plugins(enhanced Peops derivatives) and has support for shaders, widescreen mode and multiplayer but unfortunately its closed source payware limited to Android.

ePSXe is a fairly standard plugin based emulator, and since it's closed source it gets only updates from the main developers. And only a few minor updates once every few years. Though 1.8.0's biggest addition was the Android version's advertisement. Closed source, focused on profit, and Windows version is outdated because development is focused on Android version. Although the basic program is near identical to PCSXR there are subtle differences. As this is plugin based, a guide to setting this up can be found here: . Also note that PCSXR uses the same plugins so the knowledge gained can be ported over.

It's generally recommended to use Mednafen or PCSX-R on Linux/OSX. Many use Mednafen for 2D games because of its accuracy at native resolution, and ePSXe or Linux/OSX version of PCSX-R for 3D games because of support for plugins which allow for better graphics quality than original hardware. Unfortunately best PSX plugins which can increase internal resolution and have support for shaders (Pete's OpenGL2 v2.9 and Edgbla's gpuBladesoft v1.42a) are closed source and weren't updated for years so they are quite outdated and are not bug free.


POPS (short for PlayStation On PSP System) is the PS1 emulator for PSP made by Sony. It utilises EBOOTs, a form of binary file for PSP, instead of bin/cue/etc, which can be made using a converter if required. Compatibility is very high due to being made by Sony for their PSN releases of PS1 games, including support for multi-disc games (within the one EBOOT). Only native PS1 resolution is supported, with games being stretched as the user wishes to fit the screen. POPS is also available on the PlayStation 2, although compatibility is not as high. The official method of installation was on a hard drive.

WiiSX is a port of PCSX to the Wii. Compatibility is fairly low due to the weak power of the Wii, plus the lack of updates to this emulator mean that it generally isn't worth using. Still the best PS1 emulator on Wii, though, which isn't saying much.

PCSX-ReARMed is essentially the ARM version of PCSX-R, sharing a similar core, but far more accurate, compatible and optimized for portable handheld devices. One of its draws is its Android NEON software plugin, which is both fast and accurate, and has the ability to render at 2x resolution without resorting to a more buggy, slower or closed source plugins .

Cheryl compared

Left showing native resolution and unblended dithering. Right showing HD and no dithering.

Emulation issuesEdit

Several problems occur when running PS1 games, and they become more noticeable at resolutions higher than native internal resolution when using plugins which can increase it like Edgbla's GpuBladesoft, Pete's OpenGL2 and GSDX. Though they're still apparent at native, the low resolution's aliasing and blurriness kills almost any visibility, hiding the issues.

PS1 doesn't have sub-pixel accuracy[6]. Jittering polygons are caused by the low-precision fixed-point math used by PS1 GTE to calculate positions of vertices in polygons. And more accurate math where relevant helps, but GTE Accuracy/Improved Coordinate Accuracy is supported by only some PS1 plugins and emulators(PCSXR, NO$PSX , Peops OpenGL 1.78, PeteOpenGL2Tweak and the gpuBladeSoft). Though it can create holes in the seams in some games. It also should be possible to implement more precise texturing.

The PS1 hardware didn't have a z-buffer. The lack of a Z-buffer causes things like Z-Fighting and polygons popping over others and makes it impossible to implement Trilinear/Anisotropic filtering in the PS1 emulators. Tekken character limbs are a good example to see that. It's theoretically possible to implement Z-Buffer in PSX emulators/GPU plugins.[7]

No texture perspective correction causes distortion to texture angles at certain viewing angles. Notably at the bottom near the camera. Which can be fixed with the Perspective-Correct texture mapping along with a modern texture filtering methods and texture replacement if someone implemented them in PSX emulators/GPU plugins.[8]

Color banding caused by the low color depth of PS1. Can be fixed by using deeper color but this is supported only by some PS1 plugins(Peops OpenGL 1.78, Pete's OpenGL2 , gpuBladeSoft).

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